« AnteriorContinuar »
by way of natural resultancy from the body, but by way of inspiration from the Lord ; not from the warm bosom of the matter, but from the breath of its Maker.
4. Lastly, We have here the nexus, copula, the tie or band by which it is united with the body of man, viz. The breath of his si. e. of man) nostrils. It is a most astonishing mystery, to see heaven and earth married together in one person; the dust of the ground, and an immortal spirit clasping each other with such dear embraces, and tender love; such a noble and divine guest to take up its residence within the mean walls of flesh and blood. Alas, how little affinity, and yet what dear afsection is found betwixt them!
Now, that which so sweetly links these two disferent natures together, and holds them in union, is nothing else but the breath of our nostrils, as the text speaks: it came in with the breath; whilst breath stays with us, it cannot go from us; and as soon as the breath departs, it departs also. All the *teh elixirs and cordials in the world cannot persuade it to stay one minute after the breath1 is gone. One puff of breath will carry away the wisest, holiest, and most desirable soul that ever dwelt in flesh and blood. When our breath is corrupt, our days are extinct, Job xvii. 1. " Thou takest away their breath, they die, and re'' turn to their dust," Pftl. cxiv. 19.
Out of the text thus opened, arise two doctrinal propositions, which I shaH insist upon, viz.
Doct. t. That the foul of man is of divine original, created and inspired immediately by the Lord.
Doct. 2. That the fouls and bodies of men are link'd, or knit together, by the feeble band of the breath of their nostrils.
In the prosecution of these two propositions, many things will come to our hands, of great use in religion; which I shall labour to lay as clearly and orderly in the reader's understanding, and press as warmly upon his heart as I can. And first,
Dost. 1. That the foul of man is of divine original, created and inspired immediately by the Lord.
In this first proposition, two things are to be distinctly pondered, viz.
1. The nature ? of the sou,.
2. The original i
Or, what it is, and from whence it came.
I. The first thing which arrest our The naturt of thoughts, and requires their attention and extit foul. ercise, is the nature of the foul, or what kind
of being it is.
Those that are most curiously inquisitive into all other beiogs, and put nature upon the rack to make her consess her secrets, are in the meantime found shamefully slight and negligent in the study of themselves. Few there are riiat can prevail with themselves to sit down and think close to such questions as these. What manner os being is this fad of mine? whence came it? -why -was it infused into this body? and where must it abide, when death hath dislodged it out of this frail tabernacle f There is a natural aversarion in man to such exercises of thought as these, although ia the whole universe of beings in-this lower world, a more noble creature is not to be found *.
The foul is the most wonderful and astonishing piece of divine workmanship; it is no hyperbole to call it the breath of God, the beauty of men, the wonder of angels, and the envy of devils. One foul is of more value than all the bodies in the world.
,< The nature of it is so spiritual and sublime, that it cannot be persectly known by the most acute and penetrating understanding, assisted in the search by all the aids philosophy can contribute.
It is not my design in this discourse to treat of the several faculties and powers of the soul, or to give you the rise, natures, or numbers of its assections and passions: but I fhall confine my discourse to its general nature and original. And seeing "none can so well discover the nature of it, as he who is "the author of it," as Tertullian f speaks, I therefore justly expect the best light from his words, though I will not neglect any other aid he is pleased elsewhere to afford.
J The soul is variously denominated from its several powers
* Therefore they who at any time have disputed concerning the soul, must be reckoned to have disputed'not of a vain thing, that has nothing but. a name, but about a very weighty subject, of the greatest moment, than which nothing under heaven is more excellent. Zanch. on the foul.
\ Si, quid de. anima ctrtandum est, ad Dei regular dirigat: cert'e hullum aliuht potiurem anima demeast^atiotietn, quam Auetorem. Tertul. de anima, ire. ~
J As it quickens the body, it is called anima, i. e. the lise; as it exerts acts of the will, it is called animus, i. e. power of volition; as it is the subject of knowledge, it is called the niind; when it re collects, it is called the memory; when it judges right, it is called reason; as it produces breathing, it is called spirit.. Iftdtr; Etyrh,.
Vol. III. Q_ t -> :j
and office*, as the sea from the several shores it washes. I will a<?t spend time about the several names by which it is known t« us in. scrtpt«'e, but give you that description of it, with which my understanding is n,ost satisfied, which take thus:
The soul of man is a vital, spiritual, and immortal substance, endowed tutti; <w under- The description standing, -will, and various affetlions; created of the soul. with an inclination to the body, and infused thereinto by the Lord.
.. In this-description we have the two general parts into which I distributed this discourse: viz. its geacr.il nature, and divine original. The nature of the foul is expressed to us in these fotlitA'iog terflis.
1. ft is a substance. * That is to fay, no? a quality, or an accident 'inhering in another being, or subject; as whiteness doth ip the snow: but* being by * i self. Qualities aad accidents have no existeslee of their own, but require another being, or subject to their e'xip" tence; but the soul of man is a substantial being of itself, which. will evidently appear upon the following grounds. - (1.) Because it is, in a strict and proper sense, created bjt. God. "He fortneth, or creafeth the spirit in man," Zech. xii. 1. To him we are advised to "commit it, as' to a saithfuls "Creator,*' i Pet. iv. to. The substantial nature of the soul'. is implied in the very notion of its creation; "for whatsoever "is created, is a substance, an ens per fe \. Accidents are not *' said to be created, but con-created;" the crasis of humours, and results of matter, are not substances created, but things' rising in a natural Way from created substances. ' They flow From., and, as to their essence, depend upon pre-existent matter; but theTdu! was created out of nothing, and infused into. the body after it was formed and organized; which evkienceth. ib substantial nature.
(?.) This evidenceth the foul to be a substance; that it can, and doth exist, and subsist by itself alone, when separated from the body by death, Luke xxiii. 43. " To day fhalt thou, (i.e. "thy soul) be with me in paradise;" end Mat. x. 20. " Fear "not them that kill the body but cannot kill the soul." Were
# The sou! is a being by itself, /'. e, it does not'exift in any obj-ect; at a part or form cf it, depending on it, as to its being. College Cenimb.Jn lib. t1. \
f Shiicquid a Deo prgprie creattint est; accidentia enlm non di*cuntur ereari, fed coitcreari. Poiani Synt. p. 319.
/he font but as accident, a quality, or a result,' he thr.t kills the body, must needs kill the soul too; as he that casts a (howball inte the fire, must needs destroy the whiresiesi wlrh the snow. Accidents sail and perish with their subjects: bat'seeing it is plain in these and many other scriptures, the foul doth not sail with the body; nothing can be more plain and evident, than that it is of a substantial nature.
When the Spaniards came first among the poor Indians, rhe^ thought the horse and his rider to be one creature; as many ignorant ones think the soul and body of man to be nothing but breath and body: whereas indeed.they are two distinct creatures, as vastly different in their natures as the rider and his horse, or the bird and his cage. Wbile the man is on horseback, he moves according to die motion of the horse; aud whilst the bird is itfcaged, he ears and drinks, and sleeps, and hops and lings in hie cage. But if the horse sail, and die under has rider, »r the cage be broken, the man can go on his own seet, and the bird enjoy himself as well, yea, better in the open fields and woods, than in the csge: neither depend, as to being, or action, on the horse or cagd
(3.) Both fcriptnre and philosophy consent in this, that the foul is the chief, most noble, and principal part of man, from which the whole man is, and ought to be denominated. So Gen xlvi. 26. " All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt,V i. e. all the persons; as the Latins say, tot capita, so many heads or persons. The apostle, in 2 Car. v. 8. seems to exclude the body from the notion of personality, when he saith, We a?* willing rather to be absent frtm the bzJy, and to be prefent with the Lord: That me, a term of personality, is there given to tht foul, exclusively of the bedy, for the body cannot be absent from itself: But we, that is, the souls as believers, may be botfi absent from if, and present with Christ.
To this we may add, 2 Cor. iv. 16. where the foul is called the man, and the inner man too, the body being but the exter*<il sace, or (badow of the man. And to this plAlofofhers agr^e* The best philosophers are so sar from thinking that the body is the substantial part of man, and the soul a thing dependent on it; that contrarily they affirm, that the body depends upon llie fouli |1 and that it is the Ibul that conserves and sustains it 1
d The foul preserves and sustains the animated body, but whef ody, the nature of an animated body subsilts no mqie: not in the body, as Id a place, seeing u cnonot be
and that the body is in the foul, rather than the soul in the body, and that which is seen not the man, but that is the man which is invisible, that the body might be killed and the man not hurt; meaning the soul, which only deserves the name of man. Now if it be the chief part of man, and that which is only worthy the name of a man, and from which therefore the whole is, and ought to be denominated a man; if it be so sar from depending on the' body, or being contained within the body, that the body rather depends on it, and is in it, then surely the soul must be, what we describe it to be, a substantial being.
(4.) It is past all controversy, that the soul is a substance, because it is the subject of properties, assections and habits; which is the very strict and formal notion of a substance. All the afsections and passions of hope, desire, love, delight, sear, sorrow, ind the rest, are all rooted in it, and springing out of it; and for habits, arts and sciences *, it is the soul in which they are lodged and seated. Having once gotten a promptitude to act, either by some strong, or by some frequently repeated acting, they abide in the foul, even when the acts are intromitted, as in sleep a navigator, scribe or mufician, are really artists, when they are neither failing, and writing or playing; because the habits still remain in their minds, as is evident in this, that when they awake, they can perform their several works, without learning the rules of their art anew,
II. The soul is a vital substance, i. e.
A substance which hath an essential principle of lise in itself: a living, active being. A living soul, saith Moses in the text; and hereby it is distinguished from, -and opposed to matter or body. The soul moves itself and the body too; it hath a selfmoving virtue or power in itself; whereas the matter, or body is wholly passive, and is moved and acted, not by itself, but by this vital spirit. Jam. ii. 26. " The body without the spirit is "dead." It acts not at all, but as it is acted by this invisible spirit. This is so plain that it admits of sensible proof and demonstration, Take mere matter, and compound or divide it, alter
circumscribed by place. The whole foul pervades the whole body; nor is there any part of it, in which it is not present: for it is not contained in the body, but rather itself contains the body; neither is it in the body, as in a vessel or bottle, but rather the body is in it. Nyf. en the soul. b. a. c 11. ** «.'t At,Sptiro; rt tfttfmti, /'. e\ That which is seen, is not the Man, but every man's foul is himself.
* The soul is the fubjec) and seat of all the virtues and vices, »rts and sciences. Buchan. loc. com. 86..